Retailers listed unexpected sugar shortages as one of the reasons for price hikes that saw a two-kilogram packet of the commodity rise from Ksh300 to Ksh415 to Ksh470 in over a week.
Reports indicated that retailers currently purchase a 50-kg bag of sugar at Ksh4,250 - from the initial price of Ksh3,300.
This indicated that the retailers pass the extra cost to the consumer forcing Kenyans to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase amid the high cost of living.
Further, the Sugar Directorate's weekly records of sugar stock fell by 80 per cent - where 4,000 tonnes are denoted against a required optimum of 20,000 tonnes needed to sustain the daily demand in the country.
In an earlier press interview, Jude Chesire, Director of Sugar Directorate noted that the deficit was caused by the low production at the factory level despite the government waiving off-duty imports for the commodity in December 2022.
Chesire added that the cost of the commodity had not gone down despite the importation of duty-free sugar because of the import's exorbitant price owing to the global shortage and the weak shilling.
Initially, the sugar docked at the Mombasa port with a price tag of Ksh85,000 before shooting to Ksh121,000 - with the ripple effects hurting the consumer.
Further, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) claimed that some traders placed exaggerated prices on the commodity owing to the shortage.
The association added that the shortage also led to consumers purchasing sugar in bulk in anticipation of a prolonged period of scarcity.
In December 2022, the government allowed for the importation of 100,000 metric tonnes of brown or white sugar on duty-free status.
Further, they allowed Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) to import 200,000 tonnes of sugar duty-free in February 2023.
Despite the attempts of the Kenya-Kwanza administration, the sugar commodity rose by 56 per cent in over a week's period - with many Kenyans expressing their displeasure over the sharp spike.
President William Ruto had assured Kenyans that prices of basic commodities would start going down as the government had imported the food commodities on a duty-free status.
“I know we have a big debate across the country about the cost of living and how we need to reduce food prices.
“As a government, we have imported a lot of food and beginning (April 2023), it will get to the market,” the President promised.